Today is polling day, my first in the UK general election. I am not quite sure how I got on to the electoral roll.  There are not many things that are efficient in this country, but clearly elections are not one of them.  So beware, if you are signed up to vote in Local Council, you will get signed up to vote in the General Parliamentary elections (provided of course, that you meet the requirements of Commonwealth country and residence requirements).  Gosh, I hope they checked all that, coz I sure did not give them that kind of information.

Anyway, back to polling day.  So, here I was merrily shooting from the sidelines, when I discovered I wasn’t just shooting from the sidelines, I was in the game. Oh dear.  Time to get serious to work out the issues.  The thing is, it’s all well and good to talk about national issues and who should be Prime Minister, the MP expenses scandal, and the economy.  However, at the end of the day, one has to vote according to what’s happening in the constituency as well.

So this is what I had to find out.  So, what are the local issues in Richmond.  Apparently, it’s the closing down of Kingston Hospital (care), parking meters in Richmond Park (don’t care), and …….  I do remember it came in 3s (like marketing takeaway points), but alas I have now forgotten.  See how short the memory of one voter can be, some would call it illiterate, but I’m sure you wouldn’t be so rude.  This is democracy in action, you know.

There’s another piece of the puzzle, who’s running in the race for Richmond and how are they tracking. Well, apparently the incumbent Lib Dems are in the lead, Conservatives a close second and Labour a distant third. Of course, this is statistics from 2005.  Since then, boundaries have also changed so who know what the results are.  Suffice it to say, I have not seen any Labour campaign material out here, so maybe Labour doesn’t t think it can win this seat.

So, it’s a 2 horse race out here. Apparently – according to campaign material. This is politics – you can’t trust anyone. Or can you? Well, according to the Lib Dems, you can trust them. Conservatives don’t try this line, coz they have as many MPs as guilty of the Expenses scandal as Labour.

See how it does your head in?

Well, I’ve had to weigh up the 3 areas of national policy, local issues and strategic voting to come to a decision.  Throw in the mix of whether I like someone who used to have a career in Public Relations and Media, and someone who didn’t, against the third person who had his “British-ness” questioned because his mother wasn’t t born in this country and whose father is half-Russian, it’s all very difficult really.  (Honestly, this is what some newspapers write about!)

So, maybe it isn’t so difficult after all.

By the way, I’m not the only one figuring this out.  I’ve heard people having conversations all over the place with people working out who they will vote for.  For whatever it’s worth, at least we’re all thinking about our choices.